Travelling by airplaine

Hey buddy, did you know that airplane trips, depending on the duration and conditions can be stressful for us dogs? And depending on his weight, he will not even be able to stay in the cabin with you. Also take into consideration the price of the dog's ticket, which can become expensive depending on the destination. 

Don't forget that you will have to make your reservation well in advance because places for dogs are always limited and you can't make your reservation online.

Also, depending on the destination, the weather conditions (heat, humidity, etc.) may not be ideal because we dogs are used to the climate of our country.
Even if you love your dog very much, sometimes it is better to leave him at home with a dogsitter, with a relative or in a pet boarding. 

How do you get your dog used to air travel?

We will rather talk about getting your dog used to certain elements. Like the carrier bag if he comes with you in the cabin or the transport box if he stays in the hold.

Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • Give him some treats so he can get in on his own.
  • As soon as he goes in on his own, reward him with treats.
  • Once he's comfortable, have him sleep in it during the night without closing the crate door (yes…in Switzerland, it's forbidden to lock a dog in a transport box, except in a car). 
  • Here, too, his experiences must be positive. Congratulate him and give him treats.
  • This will make him feel safe more quickly.
  • Putting one of his blankets on him can also reassure him.

Be sure that he is comfortable in the presence of a large number of people and various noises because he will stay with you in the airport while you board the plane. If this is not the case, make him socialize and get used to it by taking him with you as often as possible to different places (restaurants, stores, markets, train stations, etc.).

If despite these attempts your dog presents a state of panic (panting, blocking, agitation, aggressiveness...), do not insist and speak to a behaviorist veterinarian. It may be a behavioral pathology that is incompatible with air travel.

Chien aéroport

Well-being and safety?

  • First of all, call your veterinarian for possible advice/medication. Depending on your dog's breed or health problems, some forms of transportation may not be suitable. Don't try to sedate your pet without the consent of your veterinarian as the combination of altitude and sedatives can lead to a drop in blood pressure and death.
  • Also note that motion sickness exists in dogs.
  • Ideally, take a long walk to tire him and therefore he should be less stressed and agitated.
  • The crate or bag chosen should be adapted to his size, he should be able to get up, lie down and turn around.
  • If your dog travels with you in the cabin, make sure to take with you everything he needs (yes... don't leave it in the suitcase that goes in the hold!).

If your dog travels in the hold, don't forget to put his favorite blanket in his crate and if the company also allows him to eat and drink.

Please note that traveling in the hold can be very stressful for many dogs. If your dog is too big to travel in the cabin, it may be better not to take him with you if you are going for a short period of time.

Where does your dog travel?

Each airline has its own regulations. It is therefore necessary to inquire directly with the chosen airline company.

In general, it is the weight that will determine whether the dog can travel in the cabin or in the hold. For example, Swiss admits dogs of up to 8kg in the cabin (including the transport basket) but many other conditions must be met as well.

Where to go?

  • Check the legislation (vaccines, quarantines, etc.) in the selected country. Some countries even refuse entry to foreign animals or certain breeds.
  • Find out about the climate in the destination country at the time of your planned trip, is it ideal for your dog?
  • Find out if the chosen destination is "dogfriendly" (hotels, activities, transportation, etc.).

You can find all this information for Switzerland on our DFS map just by clicking here!

What to take along?

It depends on the regulations of the airline company, the destination and the mode of transportation. I advise you to look directly with this one.

Otherwise, find all the other indispensable elements during a trip on my travel checklist here!

Chien plage

Which airlines and fares?

Before you buy your own ticket, ask about the company if they allowed dogs because even the best known airlines do not necessarily accept them (e.g. Easyjet).

Famous airlines that do accept dogs include Swiss, Air France and American Airlines.

The fares differ from one company to another and of course depending on the route and the means of transport of the dog.

Example for Swiss

For travel in Europe, the price in the cabin is CHF 69 and in the hold CHF 115 for crates up to 57x37x36cm / 4kg and CHF 230 for crates over 71x50x51cm / 6kg.

For long-haul flights, the price in the cabin is CHF 126 and in the hold CHF 218 for crates up to 57x37x36cm / 4kg and CHF 436 for crates larger than 71x50x51cm / 6kg.

In summary?

  • There are two ways to transport a dog by plane.
  • Ask about the company's terms and conditions of transportation.
  • Depending on this, make sure your dog is comfortable with these conditions. If it is not already the case, accustom him in advance with exercises in a progressive and positive way.
  • Make sure you book in advance because the number of places for the dogs is limited.
  • Ask your veterinarian if vaccinations and preventive treatments are required depending on the destination.
  • Check the entry requirements of the destination country.
  • Find out if the destination you have chosen is "dogfriendly".


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